Over the past month, the water fountains in Baker and Huger Hall have been down, with residents unable to refill water bottles in their own halls. This is not an isolated issue, and other problems regarding the maintenance, cleanliness and security of the residence halls have been prevalent.
On March 14, a day after The Vermilion sent an email asking about the situation to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Housing Department, the department sent out an email to the residents of Baker and Huger about the “on-going water fountain maintenance.”
“We apologize for the delay in this project. We are working with our university facility maintenance team to provide all brand-new water fountain units,” the email reads. “In the meantime, please feel free to use other available water fountains near you: the Student Union, Hamilton Hall, and McLaren Hall.”
The Housing Department did not respond to The Vermilion’s requests for comment or further information on what caused the water fountains to be out, or why it’s taken this long for them to take any action on it.
Though the water fountains are operational again, a look into Huger Hall revealed further issues regarding the quality and maintenance of the building and its furnishings. A vent was left partially open, an AC unit had its panel bent and not bolted fully, leaving an open gap in it.
The furniture in the community rooms were also found to be in various states of disrepair, with some couches torn up badly enough that the inside was visible.
Additionally, in Huger Hall’s stairwell, the card readers by each door have been torn out from the walls, allowing anyone access to any floor.
Students living in Huger Hall shared their various concerns with the building.
Caroline Rauschenbach, a freshman majoring in biology, shared her concerns about the cleanliness of the building and how often it actually gets cleaned.
“They told us there would be housekeepers that would clean the main areas and stuff like that, and they’ve only been like three times after my roommate literally had to email the residence hall, the people over the housing, and finally they decided to come,” Rauschenbach said. “They told us that technically we don’t pay for it, they wouldn’t give her an itemized bill. But I have a feeling that we pay for some of it, you know, and we’re not getting that.”
Rauschenbach further added that she’s been experiencing issues with the low water pressure in her shower and has been having to use her suitemate’s shower instead. Though a complaint has been put in, she doesn’t expect any results to come of it for several days.
She also remarked on the card readers being missing, and shared that sometimes there isn’t anyone at the front desk for security.
Rafael Hernandez, a sophomore majoring in political science, shared how the long-running issue with the water fountains has made him spend a lot of money on bottles of water, and how he feels it’s a symptom of other issues with Huger Hall.
“Really, it’s a reflection on how poorly managed Huger dorm maintenance is. Students were not informed about what was happening beyond the fountain needing ‘maintenance.’ The elevator and door are also constantly failing,” Hernandez said.
Currently, the cost per semester of living in Baker and Huger Hall is $5,100 for a single suite and $3,601 for a double suite. However, the university has proposed raising the prices for the next academic year. The proposed prices are visible on Housing’s website, with students potentially set to pay $5,253 for a single suite and $3,709 for a double suite.